These Chocolate Chip Tahini Shortbread Cookies Are Instant Classics

These Chocolate Chip Tahini Shortbread Cookies Are Instant Classics

I’m just gonna say it: my ideal Friday evening this month includes Love, Actually and these cookies. The common denominator? They’re both instant classics. If you need a new Christmas cookie recipe to add to your lineup, these Chocolate Chip Tahini Shortbread Cookies are for you. Think classic shortbread with the flavor turned up several notches. The nutty richness of sesame lends an extra savory note to these sweet and salty cookies, while chopped dark chocolate speckles indulgence throughout. And the dough freezes beautifully—just wrap up the log of dough in a double layer of plastic wrap and pop in the freezer so that you’re ready for cravings whenever they hit.

These were one of the standout recipes in our Holiday Cookie E-book (you can download it for free right here!) Daphne Oz created these beauties, and they’ve quickly become one of our family’s favorites. They’re a modern take on a Christmas classic, and I love the contrast of savory tahini and sesame seeds with the buttery sweet shortbread. Scroll on for exactly how to make these Chocolate Chip Tahini Shortbread Cookies.

What are shortbread cookies?

Shortbread cookies are a classic holiday cookie. These buttery delights are known for their crumbly texture and richness. The foundation of these surprisingly simple cookies consists of three primary components: butter, sugar, and flour. High-quality butter is essential, giving these cookies the perfect amount of richness that defines shortbread. Sugar adds a touch of sweetness and contributes to the cookie’s delicate texture, and the flour acts as a binder.

How to make these shortbread cookies

This recipe takes elements from the classic cookie recipe and adds a savory twist. Here’s what you need to make them:

  • Sesame seeds: for a unique textural element and a visually appealing bite.
  • Demerara or turbinado sugar: to give these cookies the perfect amount of sweetness.
  • Butter: unsalted butter will do the trick here, but go for a high-quality option.
  • Tahini: this is the key ingredient—it adds that certain something that sets these cookies apart.
  • Confectioners’ sugar: for the perfect light texture.
  • Flour: to hold your cookies together.
  • Bittersweet Chocolate: because what’s a chocolate chip cookie without it!


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The nutty richness of sesame lends an extra savory note to these sweet and salty cookies, while chopped dark chocolate speckles indulgence throughout. 

  • 1/2 cup (71 grams) toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup (71 grams) black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) demerara or turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (128 grams) tahini plus 1-2 tablespoons, well-stirred and divided
  • 2/3 cup (76 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups (200 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, fairly finely chopped but not completely into a sandy consistency (about 3/4 cup)

  1. Combine the toasted sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, and demerara sugar in a medium baking dish and set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or using a hand mixer add the butter, ½ cup tahini, and confectioners’ sugar. Mix on medium speed until smooth and combined, 1-2 minutes. This will look like a delicious tahini spread. Add the vanilla extract and mix for another couple of seconds until combined. Add the flour and sea salt and continue beating until a dough forms. The dough will be crumbly but easy to press together with your fingers.
  3. Now is the time to add the chocolate! Be sure your chocolate is fairly finely chopped, this ensures that when you go to slice the chilled dough into rounds the dough doesn’t fall apart when slicing because the chocolate chunks are too large.
  4. Add the chocolate to the stand mixer and gently turn on low speed until the chocolate is almost all combined. The dough will still be crumbly at this point but should be easy to press together using your fingers.
  5. Remove the stand mixer bowl and start by drizzling 1 tablespoon of tahini over the mixture. This will help you form the dough into a log more easily. Fold gently with a rubber spatula until the dough comes together more. This won’t look like classic chocolate chip cookie dough but should come together more easily while still retaining some crumbles.
  6. Divide the dough in half and form each half into a log that’s 5 inches x 1 ½ inches. If the dough is still difficult to form, add another tablespoon of tahini to the dough and shape again.
  7. Roll each log of dough into the sesame seed mixture until completely coated. Gently press to adhere the sesame seeds and sugar. Wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight until the dough is completely chilled and hard.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Slice the cookies into 1/2-inch thick slices and place the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. When slicing the cookies, the chocolate pieces may cause the dough to break in places, gently press the dough back together and form into a circle. Bake for 12-15 minutes on the center rack until just lightly golden and dry to the touch. Repeat with the second baking sheet.
  9. Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheet completely to set. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


These cookies freeze well. Just wrap the log of uncooked dough in a double layer of plastic wrap, then freeze for up to a month. When ready to bake, remove from freezer, slice, and continue with the recipe.

  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Chilling Time: 4 hours
  • Cook Time: 15 min

Keywords: holiday cookies

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